Human beings, along with animals, are designed to escape from danger and protect themselves. It is our natural instinct but fear is often associated with this and can easily sway an outcome. In life there are many circumstances where we are faced with difficult decisions but we are to keep a strong grasp on our moral standards. We are to be open, honest, and inclusive. Should we exercise integrity through decency and responsibility or practice self-preservation through freedom and instinct? The Crucible by Author Miller examines these traits and leaves the characters open to choose between what is right and sparing themselves. Personal integrity is more important than self preservation. This idea is revealed in the decisions made by John proctor, Giles Corey, and Rebecca Nurse.
After being falsely accused of practicing witchcraft, John Proctor is faced with a very crucial decision; weather to lie and save his life or to stand firm and keep a clean name. Originally, proctor decides to lie and say he was a witch, but when the court wants to hang his testimony on the church door he quickly refuses to sign his testimony. Frantically John says, “because it is my name!...I cannot have another in my life!...I lie, and sign myself to lies!...How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave my name!” (1223). Proctors choice of not signing his testimony led to his death. His choice has many flaws though. He left behind his sickly wife to care and provide for three children and one on the way. It may seem like he was leaving his family but he had very adequate reasoning. If Proctor confessed of being a witch and cast his signature, his name would hold no value. The name Proctor would be damned for his children and generations to come. Giles Corey made the same decision as proctor. Elizabeth told Proctor that Giles refused to confess “So [Giles] stood mute, and died a Christian under the law, and so his sons will have his farm” (1226). Giles and John both died to keep a clean name, to protect their children from hardships to come.
Many died in Salem over false charges of witchcraft. Reverend Hale originally came “to counsel Christians” but didn’t yet know the severity of his presence in Salem. Hale shouts, “There is blood on my head! Do you see the blood on my head” (1224)! Hale feels guilty and believes that the deaths are his fault. There weren’t really witches in Salem; the devils “spirit” is the people and their hatred for one another. Reverend Hale wants the accused to lie, and escape death. Yes, they will still have their life but not much other than that. With a heavy heart